Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ranciere describes the two different modes in viewing the moving image. One mode being the television and the other being Cinema. Though television has the capabilities of producing the image of cinema, the cinema does not produce the image results of television. Television programs such as “Questions pour un champion” are examples of imaging that is incessantly referencing itself. There is no attempt to hide its production. On the other side of the spectrum there is cinema, in which does not reference itself to provide a narrative. Ranciere used the example of Bresson’s “Au hazard Balthazar” as a film that not only doesn’t seem reference itself, but not to reference anything at all. This happens because Bresson uses a “regime of imageness” to break the audiences expectations of what should be occurring in the film as far as sound, cinematography, mise-en-scene, and transitions. Ranciere describes the regime of imageness as the “the regime of relations between elements and functions”. This could be interpreted as certain use of montage that, as an end result, goes against the grain of conventional filmmaking. The montage used in the beginning of the film provides the viewer with editing choices that would relate to how one would visualize a description in a novel as opposed to a screenplay. The narrow shot of the donkey being baptized and the faceless children talking to the father are cinematic operations not normally used. This was a technique used to “reduce actions down to its essence”. Bressons use of montage along with mise-en-scene was part of a novelistic tradition of procedures used to “undo the link between perceptions, actions, and affects”. This method of filmmaking is what makes the visual characteristic of “Au hazard Balthazar” easy to watch. Much like the Terrance Malick film “Days of Heaven” the use of mise-en-scene and montage provide the viewer with most of the information needed to understand the narrative regardless of audio. Both films assembled in such a way that when viewed it seems if they are descriptions straight out of literature.

Barthes comments on the use of cinema compared to photography throughout “Camera Lucida”. He uses the term “blind field” which is the area outside of the frame of a film or photograph. The subjects of a photograph do not leave the frame into the blind field like that in a film. Since the subjects in a film are constantly moving in and out of blind field the studium, let alone the punctum are never discovered. Studium is described as your basic interest in a photograph and being on board with the author’s intentions. The punctum is the immediate strike of affective power in the photograph. What is interesting is that when a photograph contains a punctum, a blind field is created because there is a reference to an existence outside of the frame. That is why film stills are so fascinating. There is a narrative created do to the fact the subjects in a film frame are supposed to move in out of the blind field. This is expressed beautifully in Godard’s “Contempt”. Raoul Coutard is a cinematographer that spent most of his career working on Godard’s films. Coutard would brilliantly stage Brigitte Bardot in a frame and due to the mise-en-scene she would always be referencing something into the blind field.

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